Wednesday, May 01, 2013

FAA controlers and sequestration

It doesn't make sense to me why the FAA controllers are not paid out of airline fees.  I understand that they are employed by the federal government, but their salary should not be part of taxes but be entirely paid for by those flying planes/ticketed customers.  The whole FAA should be a zero cost to taxpayers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Typical Day

So some has asked what I do each day. We'll here is what I did yesterday:
0630 wakeup, get dressed, had to the Joint Operation Center (JOC) to ensure my powerpoint slides updating communications status was prepared by the my midwatch watchstanders
0700 Head to breakfast. Every other day I have a breakfast burrito.
0745 Kahki Call - the Deputy (2nd in command) puts any new word out, and some topics get discusses so we can all be on the same page
0800-0830 Operations-Intelligence Brief. This is where we brief our Commodore on all things important. It's at the SECRET level. It keeps us all aware and most importantly the Commodore aware. Usually he'll give out some taskers based on what we are telling him.
0830 Discussion with other officers on various topics, check SECRET e-mail
0930 Head to my office and check my Unclassified e-mail
1000 have discussions with my staff. They tell me updates on various topics (equipment status, personnel status, training, reports of all sorts).
1100 Lunch
1200 Jump onto any relevant tasker or project. On this day it seemed that one of our distant units was having some communications problem. So spend time trying to work through what their best solution would be and how we could get funds to purchase items to fix it. In the end the initial $2000 purchase was scaled down to a few hundred dollars as we determined what was the best solution. Sometimes it's not that easy. Often it takes days of e-mails back and forth to figure this out.
1400 Check SECRET e-mail again. We all don't have out own computers for official business, so we have to check periodically throughout the day.
1600 stop work and try to do some studying for my military courses
1700 head to dinner
1800 back to studying or watching a movie.
2000 workout
2100 shower and relax before bedtime.
2200 go to bed.
Not too exciting. About every three days there is a mini-crisis requiring something you have to work on right now. Usually if you stay ahead, you can avoid a crisis. But there are always things that come up. For instance, you have all heard about the Government Travel Charge Card. They made news a couple of years ago because military people were taking these credit cards that are supposed to be used for official travel and using them to buy flat screen TVs. So every so often someone pulls down a report showing who is delinquent on payment. Then you have to find out if the sailor is 'dink' because he is being fraudulent or hasn't received his travel claim from the Navy yet. Usually there is a good explanation and so you have to collect that data and pass it up. You always hope for the report that comes out and doesn't have any of your guys on it. The last report was that way. We do a lot of tracking and checking so that we are always ready for responding to a real emergency with our forces and dont' have to worry about these day to day things.
Any questions?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Guard Dogs

It's an interesting thing here that develops regarding the stray dogs that are around. At a couple of the different outposts that we man, the dogs have developed into a pet of sorts. Of course the US servicemen take to the dogs and feed them. In return the dogs will perform guard duty. The third country nationals (TCN) that are around and the Kuwaitis don't like stray dogs. Wikipedia says that Islam considers dogs to be unlcean and should not be kept as pets. Only as working dogs. The dogs realize pretty quick who likes them and who doesn't. So the dogs will bark at anyone who comes around who is not dressed in the uniform of a serviceman. But anyone who is in the uniform of an American the dogs know is their friend. If an American shows up in civillian clothes, they will bark at them. Its really interesting.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Promotion Ceremony

Woke up today with a lot of wind and a lot of dust. I'm fortunate that my door has good weatherstripping to keep the dust out. Others were mentioning at our morning meeting that they were going to have to completely re-clean their room. It was pretty bad last night, however, even in my room. I woke up and could taste the dust in my mouth. Having grass, even dead grass, like California in the summer is much, much better than the desert here.
Anyway, to explain the title of this post. This morning the Army 2nd Lieutenant who runs most of the IT support here on Camp Patriot was having a promotion ceremony. He said his LT Colonel was coming down to do it and he invited myself and my Chief Petty Officer to attend. It was a small ceremony in his office space. But it was a good chance to show our appreciation to the 2nd LT who has been helping us and make him look good for his boss by having myself attend, since I'm the same rank as an Army LT Colonel. There were civillian contractors there and all of the 2nd LT's soldiers and much of the LT Col's staff. With the new Army digital uniforms, the rank is simply a velcroed patch on the front blouse. So to promote, they simply read the promotion letter then the LT Col stepped up, tore off the 2nd LT rank and put on the 1st LT rank. Then we all clapped. The new 1st LT said some words then I took the opportunity to thank him for his efforts on behalf of all the sailors at the base. Then we all ate some of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake they had bought. Yes we actually have a Baskin-Robbins on the Kuwaiti portion of the base.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Well it's March 1, so we've finished another month. This must be the dust storm season. Anytime there is consistent wind we get dust in the air. If you are from Sacramento, think of it as just like fog, only it's dust. You may have visibility for 100 yards, but then there is so much dust you can't see. Then everyone starts walking around with masks, or a covering over their mouth. You go inside thinking you can escape, but after a day you realize there is a thin layer of dust everywhere, so it's there too. Yesterday I want to another base and when I was trying to leave they stopped us becase it was decided that the roads were too dangerous due to reduced visibility. We went to their DFAC and had some lunch, then eventually it cleared up enough for us to leave. Today it's clear, but there is still a haze in the air.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Happy New Year. So far over here it seems like the old year. It did rain yesterday for the first time. It came down pretty hard. Then a cold snap showed up and it is very cold. I wore my thermal bottoms for the first time.
Let me tell you a few things about the camp. Everywhere there are pallets of water bottles. Whenever you need you just grab a box off the pallet and take it to your room, or office or barracks. As the tower of boxes shrinks (they start about 6 feet tall) another pallet will show up next to it to start using. It’s not too hot here now so we aren’t going through them very fast. At various points around the came there will be groups of porto-potties. Everyday a truck comes through to empty and clean them, so they are probably the cleanest porta-potties I’ve ever used. Outside each one is also a couple of hand sanitizer dispensers. The main areas of the camp are the MWR (moral, welfare and recreation) building, the DFAC (dining facility) and the fitness center. In front of the fitness center is the basketball court which is being used pretty much all day by someone. There are a few sidewalks, but mostly it’s gravel. So all day you hear “crunch, crunch, crunch”. Of course the gravel is better than dirt or sand.
I got the care package from the Hudson’s the other day. The inside box was fudge brownie mix box so my sailors were excited about that, then when we saw the M&Ms inside that was equally exciting. It also had some cashews too. Thanks.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Mosque

We are located inside a Kuwaiti naval base. Right in the middle of that naval base is a mosque. We have been given strict instruction to not go near it. It is actually located in the center of a large traffic circle. We are allowed to walk on the sidewalk on the outside of the traffic circle, but no on the sidewalk on the inside. So along with a mosque comes the call to prayer that is broadcast over loudspeakers from the top of the miranet. I haven’t kept track but I understand it’s five times a day. The first one is at five in the morning. Before coming here people I was told it would always be waking you up. Before I started my 4am schedule I didn’t notice it. Maybe they turned the volume down. It is 5pm and it just stated again. I don’t know if it goes based on sun up and sun down, or set times. Like I said it hasn’t been so loud that it’s a main aspect of the day. There was a lot of discussion as to whether it is a recording or an actual person. Some have said they heard coughing over the speakers so it must be a person, but I heard the coughing today as well, and I think it may be happening on Fridays when they do their main prayers. Instead of Sunday worship, they do Friday prayers, and when I heard the coughing he was speaking as opposed to ‘singing’. I think the normal call to prayer is a recording.